Friday, July 27, 2012


I finished the first draft of my wip the other day. I want to put it aside and let it simmer and marinate for a while before I look at it again. It's always better for me to look again with fresh eyes.

As soon as I closed the file, my brain pretty much exploded with ideas and plans.

I've got a shiny new idea that is quite involved and has potential for 4 interconnected stories. Kind of a cosy romantic mystery/suspense series. Sort of. With a few twists and turns. And humour. Not sure I can pull it off - but I can't wait to try!

I've got an older ms that's been marinating for a while that is calling loudly as well. It's been over a year since I've looked at it, so I'm itching to dig back in and live in that world again.

I want to try my hand at writing some short stories too. It's such a great way to improve writing skills - packing so much into such a short space. I haven't done this before, but I think it would be fun.

A nonficiton idea has been tickling the back of my brain too. Educational stuff which I'm pretty experienced in, but have zero platform for. *sigh* It would require a lot of platform building (in another name seeing as I write romance...) and I don't feel up for that at the moment, but doing research for the idea is very, very tempting.

Another story idea keeps nudging me too. It's MG and would be a fun adventurous science fiction story. Totally different from what I'm doing now.

So, my brain is barely able to contain itself these days. And I'm loving every second of it!

How do you feel when you put aside one project and get to decide which one becomes your next priority?

Monday, July 23, 2012

MMGM: A Scary Good Book

Shannon Whitney Messenger created Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays to bring attention to some fabulous books. I'm playing along this week! :)

Anita Laydon Miller has done it again. Her first book, Earthling Hero, was a big hit with the students in my class last year. I haven't read A Scary Good Book to my class (yet), but I know they're going to love it!

In this story, Hannah finds the words Help Me underlined in a library book. When she finds other clues, she starts to wonder if the words are a serious cry for help. As a 12 year old, it's hard to get adults to treat your suspicions seriously, and Hannah continues to investigate on her own, and then with her best friend Ollie.

Hannah's a fabulous character - lots of layers and interesting angles inside her. One of her greatest traits is her courage.

I don't want to give away any spoilers, but this book has it all: mystery, adventure, humour, action, suspense and even a bit of realistic 12-year-old romance. Loved it!

I also love cover of this one. Anita & her hubby did it together!

I haven't made a cover yet, but I'm looking forward to giving it a shot one day! Have you attempted doing any cover work yourself?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lenny & FTWA

Two fun links today! First...

One of my favourite blog buddies, Lenny Lee, is being interviewed over at Literary Rambles today! Natalie is interviewing Lenny for her Ask the Expert series. Natalie also has a YA giveaway going on. Check it out. If you haven't met Lenny or Natalie yet, you're missing out!

Second, I'm posting over at From the Write Angle today talking about the author bio section on query letters. If you have any insights, I'd love to hear them!

I've turned off comments here so you don't feel pressured to be polite and leave an extra comment. :)  Happy clicking!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

With a Splash of Romance

My mom has always called romance novels trash. She loves to read, but doesn't enjoy stories with much romance at all. She loves mysteries - she introduced me to Agatha Christie in grade 6 or 7. She just doesn't understand why anyone would want to read about private lives in books.

Needless to say, I haven't told her I'm writing trash yet! :)

One of these days I'll have to ask her what it is that bothers her about the romance aspect. Her feelings aren't uncommon.

From the responses to my question the other day, most of you don't want the romance to be the central plot to the book, but you enjoy watching relationships develop as a side aspect to the story. A big shout out to the guys btw - not only did you NOT run from the post, but your responses were awesome. Not that I'd expect anything less!

I think most romance books are like that - at least the ones I read. Obviously I don't read them all. For my part, I like a mystery or a suspenseful plot to be added into the mix.

Some people who do this really well in my opinion are Terry O'Dell, Nora Roberts/JD Robb, Julie Garwood, Suzanne Brockmann, Carla Neggers... There are a lot out there. Some of their books sell as romance, others as romantic suspense. Terry's catch phrase on her blog is Romance with a Twist of Mystery. I love that!

The reason I'm thinking about this lately is I'm trying to decide how to classify my ms in a query. It's definitely got a romance & a HEA. There's one sex scene. There's a mystery. There's some violence. There's suspense in the last third. It's set on a ranch.

My options. Romance. Romantic Suspense. Romantic Mystery. Mystery with romantic elements. Western Romance. Contemporary Romance...

But, trash?  I think not! :)

So sorry, mom, but I'm not writing trash. I'm writing about two people who have some tough stuff going on in their lives and who find they are stronger and better together.

Do you have any troubles classifying your genres?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Wild Wood

All kinds of exciting stuff in the bloggy-verse lately!

Another fabulous blog buddy released her debut novel the other day. Due to June chaos I completely missed it *sigh*

Anyway Julie Anne Nelson's ya novel  The Wild Wood is out! The cover's awesome...

Here's the blurb...

In the town of Dunlowe, being different can be deadly. No one knows this better than the seven girls born on the exact same day, at the exact same time. From birth, they've been feared, judged, and controlled. And yet, still loved by their families. Still hoping for a future. Still believing that acceptance would one day come. As their seventeenth birthday approaches, events occur that leave Cecily Daye and the other girls grasping with the possibility that their oppressors might have been right about them all along. Maybe they are as evil as the town has believed. But without an answer, they must make a choice when the town turns on them: to die or to run to the one place no person would follow—they must enter The Wild Wood.
"A suspenseful story about friends, family and sacrifice... The town of Dunlowe, shivering under Pastor Rowe's rule, is sufficiently enigmatic-not to mention terrifying-to create suspense and deliver thrills." Kirkus Reviews

Awesome!!! I'm not finished it yet, but I'm loving it so far. Julie 's writing is tight and pulls you in. The setting is creeptastic! Love Cecily and her toughness and passion. The suspense is killing me! Can't wait to finish my writing goal today so I can reward myself with a few more chapters!

If you haven't met Julie yet, you're totally missing out. She's one of the sweetest people in the entire bloggy-verse. Pop on over to her blog and see what I mean!

What book have you been rewarding yourself with lately?

Friday, July 6, 2012


Woohoo! S.R. Johannes' latest cover is out and about in the world. Check it out...

As Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program".

While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is growing silk plants.

After a couple wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. When a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues.

Little does she know, she is being hunted too.
And possibly by more than one person.


"Grace is a spunky, independent, nature girl who doesn't need a boy to save her. With wilderness survival, a juicy love triangle, and more twists and turns than a roller coaster, this fast-paced novel had me holding my breath until the very last page—and still begging for more!" - Kimberly Derting, author of the The Body Finder series (Harper Teen) and The Pledge series (S&S)

"This thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance. The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."
- Kirkus Reviews

"Johannes has done a marvelous job of creating a suspense-filled mystery with surprises that keep you guessing all the way to the end. Untraceable is a thoroughly engrossing and riveting page-turner." -IndieReader


S.R. Johannes is the author of award-winning and Amazon bestselling Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and new tween paranormal, On The Bright Side. She has also published short novelettes as well as a teen romance anthology with 16 other authors titled, In His Eyes.  Uncontrollable, the sequel to Untraceable, is scheduled for September 2012.

S.R. Johannes is a winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Awards (Young Adult) and was also recently nominated for as Georgia Author of the Year (Young Adult).

After earning an MBA and working in corporate America, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.

Can't wait to read this Shelli! I loved Book #1 and can't wait to follow more of Grace's adventures! Shelli's also having a contest starting Monday  - head over to her blog for details!

Don't you love that cover? I love how we see more of Grace this time yet it still echoes the first cover beautifully!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Don't Run!

Okay, don't run away. I'm going to talk about Romance today.

Still here? Good.

It's funny how the word Romance can send people scurrying. It happens all the time. For some reason people become very uncomfortable discussing romance. Why?

As humans, I believe we have a need for relationships of all kinds - familial, friendly and romantic. Once people hit puberty, we spend a fair amount of time thinking about romance. It's natural and normal. We want to find that special connection - that relationship that makes us more than who we are on our own.

It's certainly not just about sex - although as we move farther into puberty that plays a part in it. Again - natural and normal.

So why is there such a stigma around the Romance genre? Most romances are about people searching for and finding that connection. Natural and normal. Romances give us what we'd like in the real world - a happy ending.

I want to explore different aspects of the Romance genre over the next while, and I'd love to hear your input.

Do you like books that include a romantic relationship? Do you read romance? Is it hard to admit it? Have you avoided reading romance because of the stigma?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!

I love being Canadian - I love our country, our landscapes, our food, our multi-cultural & multi-lingual heritage, our attitudes and our people! It's a great place to be!

Our Amercian neighbours celebrate their birthday in a few days too - so Happy July 4th to you as well!

What's your favourite thing about your country?